Chad A. Grabau


Sinclair, Christina

Committee Member

Lahman, Maria K.E.

Committee Member

Parker, Melissa

Committee Member

Stiehl, Jim


Sport & Exercise Science


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





158 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing student motivation in a college physical activity course. Fifteen participants (13 students and two instructors) were recruited from two college physical activity classes of 25 students each. The two classes examined in the study were separate sections of a course entitled Lifetime Fitness and Wellness offered within the Basic Instruction Program (BIP) by two different members of the teaching faculty. Each class was held twice a week throughout the duration of a 16-week spring semester. The course was designed to enhance participation in physical activities throughout a person's lifetime. Data collection involved conducting semi-structured interviews, and course syllabi were examined. Data analysis revealed four main themes: (a) transition from high school to college, (b) structured learning environment, (c) assessment and evaluation, and (d) instructor influence. These four themes were expressed by the student participants as having the most influence on their motivation within the college physical activity course. Each of these themes represented students' perceptions about their experiences in the course and the ways in which they interacted with the instructors and classmates throughout the semester. Results of the study support finding ways to initiate more self-directed motivation as critical to sustained levels of interest and engagement of college students in physical activity classes. Students of all ages entering colleges (especially incoming freshmen and transfer students) should be met with resources to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. These resources should include opportunities to learn more about creating their own structure for physical activity (e.g., skills, self-designed fitness/wellness plans) and to be involved in campus and surrounding community offerings for physical activity and recreational sports participation.

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Copyright is held by author.